Message from the Dean

Many recent evaluations of educational activities in the United States have been directed at primary and secondary programs, as well as the need for better teaching in baccalaureate programs. Relatively little is said about post baccalaureate activities. The thrust  these comments has been to remind us that it is really on the post baccalaureate programs that the future success of all the other programs depend. Regardless of the level of sophistication of the educational enterprise, if graduate programs fail to produce highly qualified and highly motivated individuals, many of the teaching, research, and administrative activities of the future will fail.

Although all of the functions undertaken by the recipients of the Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are extremely important, contribution of original ideas to the pool of knowledge may be most important. Indeed, the hallmark of graduate education should be the development of the intellectual resources to conduct original research and to communicate the results of this activity to one’s colleagues. In a very real sense the conduct of original research is a service to our local communities as well as to the broader, world-wide community because these efforts increase our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Through these efforts of discovery, the scholar-teacher enhances our well being.

The graduate programs available to you at the University of Nebraska Medical Center are diverse. They will encompass very basic laboratory science as well as important research-oriented patient care opportunities. Despite this diversity, all of the programs will allow the student to acquire the basic background knowledge on which to build, and afford the student the opportunity to develop original ideas in his/her chosen area of study.

These activities will involve more than traditional classroom exercises. In general, the programs are flexible. The flexibility and diversity of graduate activities obviate the traditional lock-step style of curriculum experienced in most undergraduate and professional programs. Indeed the graduate student must be involved in the development of his or her own curriculum. The challenge of new discovery, communication of ideas, and service to society is before us. Best of luck in your pursuits.

James B. Turpen
Executive Associate Dean for Graduate Studies